01/19/2015 11:57 EST | Updated 03/21/2015 05:59 EDT

nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona library and housing complex construction starts

Construction has begun on a highly-anticipated library and social housing project in east Vancouver.  

The $25-million, six storey development called nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona is a joint initiative between the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Public Library and YWCA Metro Vancouver. 

It is the first major civic building in Vancouver to have an official aboriginal name, which means "we are one" in the Musqueam language and at 11,000 sq.foot, the library will be among the largest branches in the VPL system. 

VPL board chair Mary Lynn Baum says the name is meant to honour Coast Salish people and their territory while also reflecting the neighbourhood's city name, Strathcona.  

The facility, at 720 and 730 East Hastings St., will also include 21 affordable housing units for low-income single mothers and their children. Rent will be 30 per cent of the tenants' income. 

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and several provincial and federal politicians attended the groundbreaking which was held Monday morning.  

"This is part of a bigger vision that we have for using our public land to the highest and best purpose and making sure when we rebuild a public facility on a site like this, we do everything we can use the air space above to get even more public good, more benefit for the community," said Robertson. 

The building is expected to open in the spring of 2016.